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How to Overcome the Growing Pains of an Entrepreneur

inspiration leadership planning May 14, 2024
Growing pains of an entrepreneur


Being an entrepreneur is hard! Especially if you're committed to doing it the right way, every day. The main reason: whatever skills, experience, and knowledge you have will not get you where you want to go with your business in the future. That is just the reality of being an entrepreneur

Most franchisees go through this. Before jumping into the journey of becoming a franchisee, some have many years of professional experience, while others even have a corporate background and knowledge. 

But that doesn’t prepare them to become a successful franchisee. They have to grow a lot and learn a lot to be able to accomplish the dream of business ownership

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It happened to me. I had an amazing corporate executive career for almost 30 years but then decided to become a full-time entrepreneur and create what ended up as the American Franchise Academy, which is celebrating its eighth anniversary this year.

In the past, I have ventured on a little business here and there but truly creating an enterprise required a lot of growing. Most of what I knew and what had made me successful in my career, from being a pizza delivery driver to assistant manager, manager, training specialist, director of operations, and unit leader overseeing regions and helping multi-unit and master franchisees around the world, did not prepare me for what it was like to create an educational academy that was successful and effective, and that delivered a product that actually caused change. 

Especially because being almost an expert in terms of operations, franchise model, leadership, and management, was completely different than leading an enterprise as a business owner. And I had to face that reality.

6 Years & 6 Insights of Success from Franchise Experts


8 Hacks for Entrepreneurs and New Franchisees

My experience and the many years of coaching my clients have taught me some tips to overcome the growing pains of entrepreneurship and franchising:


1. Awareness

You need to be humble and recognize that you do not know everything and that, what you do know, is not going to be enough to achieve your goals and build a multi-unit franchise enterprise. You have to grow to be able to do that and to go forward.


2. Education 

The next step is to educate yourself. Study and research to acquire the knowledge, information, experience, skills, and tips you are missing. Approach whatever source is available to you, and continue to search so that you can be successful as a business owner.

Otherwise, you’ll struggle and may even face potential failure. That wasn’t an option for me as an entrepreneur. That’s why I decided to educate myself and learn what it takes to become a great leader and entrepreneur, creating a company from scratch, and making it what I could envision it could be in the future.

We are still working on it. We're still a young company but we have certainly grown from where we were eight years ago. And there's so much more to go!


3. Leadership

I cannot tell you how many times I had conversations with corporate executives, ex-employees of companies, or ex-professionals like doctors and insurance agents, who have led a team of people in an office environment. 

Again, it is very different to lead a team in a franchise unit, in retail, or food service. And so, you need to adapt your leadership skills and learn what it takes to be a successful leader for this type of workforce. 

Keep learning: Master People Management With These Tips


4. Financials 

When you work for a company or you are an independent professional, how you understand and approach the financials is completely different from how the numbers work at a franchise business

If you don't acquire the skills to understand your operations and how to make better business decisions every day through the financials, you won’t be able to be as successful as you could. And again, the risk of failure increases. 


5. Systems

When you acquire the rights of a franchise, you acquire a brand, a product, a service, and an image, not the business management systems to turn that brand into profitability. 

The franchisor gives you the brand systems you have to follow to have revenue. But you need to define, design, implement, and document the systems that will help you and your leaders manage that business to turn that revenue into profit again. 

Some of these systems that you need to create as a business owner to be successful are:

  • How to best recruit people
  • How to best interview and hire your team
  • How to onboard them
  • What's the best way to pay them
  • What's the best way to give them a bonus and incentive
  • How to motivate them
  • How to control costs, etc.


6. Capital

Not only do you need to know where to access capital and how it can cost you as little as possible. Also, it is critical that you can determine how much you need, when you need it, and how will you spend it, to keep your business going the right way. 

Don’t miss: Access Capital with No Personal Guarantees. This is How


7. Learning Mindset

If you want to become an entrepreneur or a franchisee and do it well from day 1, you need to commit yourself and be a lifelong learner because acquiring this knowledge is not something that’s going to happen in three days. It's going to be a journey.

I have over 35 years in the industry, and I still learn every day, not only from what I read and watch but from our clients, people in the industry, and conferences I attend. 

  • I am a lifelong learner because I am 100% committed to being as good as I can be for my business every day. 

If you focus on growing and improving every day, you will succeed. This is something that Kobe Bryant said: as long as you focus on being better than you were yesterday, you will achieve your goals. 

That's all that it takes! You don't turn into a superstar overnight and very possibly, you don't need to be a superstar in six months. You need to focus and commit to being a little bit better every single day. That will eventually get you to where you need to be.


 8. Resilience

Of course, this implies that you are going to be making mistakes along the way. But people will be forgiving if they know that you are trying to be better every day not only for yourself but for them, the community, the business, and your family. 

If you are humble enough to verbalize that and can pick yourself back up, learn, and move forward to be better tomorrow, you’ll have their trust and forgiveness.

And with that, enjoy the journey and embrace the pain that comes with growing. Don't make it a bad thing, but rather the proof you are getting better. While it might hurt once in a while, the fact that you keep moving forward and you're committed means you are getting better.

  • If you feel that this journey brings you down and you are not able to get back up, then you are on the wrong journey. 


I hope these hacks ease the growing pains of being an entrepreneur or a franchisee. If you don’t know how or where to start, or how to apply these learnings, the American Franchise Academy is here for you!

We help multi-unit franchisees, unit managers, or multi-unit franchise leaders with their journey, providing them with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to succeed, through our best-in-class leadership and management programs. Because if you or your leaders don’t have that, how are you going to give it to your employees?

Don't miss our next information session on the District Manager's program by clicking here!


  • What sources of education are available for you to obtain the business knowledge you need to succeed?
  • Are you generating not only revenue but profit?
  • How much understanding do you have of how the franchise business works?
  • How much are you investing in improving your leadership and business skills?